Furniture with a Heart is a social enterprise thrift store operation that supports the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio. Social Enterprise is growing in the nonprofit sector and is a way for nonprofits to apply business models to their operations and provide sustainable sources of revenue that are then invested in the mission of the nonprofit organization. All proceeds from the Furniture with a Heart thrift store will help provide financial stability and allow the Furniture Bank to serve more low income families in Central Ohio.
The Furniture Bank of Central Ohio is a nonprofit whose mission is to provide furniture to central Ohio families and individuals struggling with poverty and other severe life challenges. Our vision is for all central Ohio families to live in furnished homes, thereby relieving suffering, strengthening family units, improving quality of life and building a better community. Community collaborations and resource sharing make this possible on an ongoing basis. The Furniture Bank serves about 4,000 families a year by providing and delivering 16 pieces of furniture and home goods to each family. In order for the Furniture Bank to sustain this level of assistance and expand to help more families we had to generate additional sources of revenue -the thrift store was the most natural fit.
We collect and distribute nearly 70,000 pieces of furniture a year to central Ohio families and will continue to do that while selling less than 10% in the thrift store. We have been operating tag sales and online auctions for several years with this model and have been able to serve more families with the money raised. By expanding the model into a store front location it will provide access to gently used furniture and home goods to the general public while helping support the mission of turning empty houses into homes through the Furniture Bank.
How it works.
Gently used furniture items are donated to the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio to help families in need with furniture and other essential household items. Items that are too large, of exceptional quality or otherwise unusable for families living in less than 1,000 sq feet are transferred to our Furniture With a Heart thrift store operation.
For every $360 in merchandise sold at the thrift store, a low-income family can receive a house full of furniture at the Furniture Bank.
All proceeds from the Furniture with a Heart thrift store are invested into the mission of the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio in order to serve:
Robyn Christy was a live-in nanny in charge of another family’s children. Robyn felt blessed that the family welcomed her daughter into their home; affording Robyn time with her daughter during her most formative years. Once her employer’s children reached school age, Robyn was on her own. She returned to Columbus with her daughter Ada. That’s when it became apparent that her savings would cover initial costs of an apartment; but would not cover the cost of furniture. The Salvation Army stepped in and brought Robyn to the Furniture Bank where she received 16 pieces of furniture. The hand up is just what Robyn needed for her and Ada to start their new life. Robyn graduated in March 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Service Management and Ada is excelling at a school for girls. Robyn moved her life forward and four years after her visit with us, she graciously donated her still gently used furniture back to the Furniture Bank to benefit another family. She has also been an avid volunteer and helped with many events over the past few years as her way of paying it forward for what she received from FBCO—a fresh start at a new life.
Baking has always been a passion of Robyn’s since she was a child, so she is thrilled to be opening her own bakery.
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